New Overtime Laws

by Jessica Cervantez

Some new overtime security rules that went into effect could affect your bank account. The rules would change certain employees from hourly to salary, which means employees wouldn't get paid for that extra overtime.

August 23rd, 2004, some employees won't forget this date, as their job description may change from hourly to salary.

David Koonce, director of human resources for the City of Lufkin, says everyone is asking about the new overtime laws.

"We've had several managers come in and ask what our intents are and we don't have any intents yet, so we can't say what we're going to do and what we're not going to do," he said.

Simply, the rule states that employees who make $23,666 or more annually could be changed from hourly to salary.

Koonce said, "So what that means is anybody in the City of Lufkin who makes $455 a week or more could be classified as salary employee. What does salary mean? Salary is another word for exempt classification, exempt classification means you don't get paid overtime for the hours that you work over 40 hours in a week."

But, it's not that simple, then you have to factor in job description. The law effects supervisors, professionals, and administrative employees differently.

Koonce said, "I'm exempt, by classification and by wage. All of our managers are exempt because of classification and wage."

But the biggest question is...

"Who falls under the salaried, non-salaried law? They're going to be looking at that and try to determine in their departments who they can salary and who they can't salary," Koonce said.

The government says the overtime law would help clear up confusion when it comes to pay.

Victoria A. Lipnic, the asst. Secretary of Labor, said, "If you are paid by the hour, you are entitled to the overtime. First responders get overtime, officers, electricians, carpenters, you get overtime. Rules are clearer and updated and provide more overtime for people."

Even though there is confusion about the law, some East Texans don't agree with it.

While there are still a lot of questions about the law, the City of Lufkin, as well as other employers, hope that with time the rules will be made a lot more clear.